The Holiday Season is always a special time for me. It has become even more important since I went 500 miles away to college three years ago. I don’t get to come home as often as I’d like to but I look at it as a way to make the moments I do go home even more special. Visiting family and friends for two weeks and making memories is something I find extremely special. Christmas of 2006 was probably my favorite Christmas. The year before my family had decided to spend Christmas and New Year’s in Hawaii and it just wasn’t as special. So Christmas of 2006 was even more important because it was back to normal and we weren’t lounging on the beach drinking strawberry daiquiris in 83 degree weather. It was full of two weeks of family time and tradition.

Perhaps the best part of this last Christmas was a trip my father and I took to San Francisco for the day. It must’ve been two or three years since I had been to San Francisco, a mere hour and fifteen minutes from my hometown of Modesto. My dad and I had planned it for just the two of us. We would drop my brother off at the Oakland airport because he had to get back to school and from there we would drive into the city.

The trip started out with my dad really having to go to the bathroom. We had gotten coffee from home and we didn’t even slow down until we dropped Christopher, my brother, off. Well, when the “urge” kicked in we were almost to the Bay Bridge and there is no way you can stop once you get on. God forbid we hit traffic! So we opted to stop before paying the toll to get on the bridge.

First, we found a Chevron station. We stopped the car and hopped out. The man at the counter explained to us that this Chevron doesn’t have public bathrooms. So strike one. I decided to drive from that point because my poor dad was about to burst. After so many years of him having to frantically stop for my little bladder, we found that the tables had turned and I was the one in charge of Operation Bladder Relief. The second place we stopped was a “Mom and Pop” coffee shop a few streets down.

“They have to have restrooms!” I exclaimed. “They are a coffee shop!” So we ran inside and the first thing we noticed was a big sign that said, “NO PUBLIC RESTROOMS. SORRY.” Strike two.

My dad said a word I can’t repeat in this story and we ran back out to the car. “Don’t worry Daddy! I will find you a bathroom! Just hold it! Think of the desert,” I said.

Finally we stopped near a dock in Oakland that was dedicated to the author Jack London. I decided to just stay in the car since I pulled up in a roundabout that had no parking. So my dad jumped out and was off to find a bathroom. The only problem was where we had stopped virtually nothing was open yet because it was still early in the morning. So after walking around for about ten minutes and asking a maintenance man who couldn’t decipher anything my dad was trying to ask him, he came back to the car.

“Ready?” I asked.
“No, I still couldn’t find one! Jen, I think I might just sneak behind that restaurant and go,” he replied.

After having a good laugh, I said, “Ok, hurry up! I’ll look out for anyone approaching your way and I’ll honk if they are.”

Well my dad was smart enough to check the restaurant he was going to illegally relieve himself on and it happened to be getting ready to open and they welcomed him to use their facilities.

After this now hysterical debacle, we were ready to get to San Francisco. We had decided to go to Alcatraz Island and take the tour because I had never been there before and I had always been interested in any type of American history. My dad accompanied my brother on a tour of Alcatraz when he was in boy scouts but I had never been. This was a special trip to me because it was something my dad and I could do so many years after he had done it with my brother. Alcatraz had so much history to it. It had been a military base, then a federal prison, then a group of American Indians occupied it until they got kicked off, and finally today it is operated by the government for tours and a glimpse of its incredible history. I wouldn’t want to share that tour with anyone other than my dad because we both appreciate history and interesting facts.

After the tour and we were walking back to Pier 39 to eat, it had started to rain. Well, being the young lady I am, I suffered a mini-crisis. I had just received my first pair of Ugg boots and everyone said you should never walk in the rain in them. Luckily, my dad is always prepared for anything and had a huge umbrella for us. I didn’t care so much about getting wet because I had four layers on and a hat so I continually tried to shift the umbrella over my boots instead of my head. My father, being the understanding and concerned parent he is, didn’t mind at all and sacrificed a wet head over a drenched pair of his daughter’s newest pair of boots. What an example of selflessness on his part, huh?

The day ended with us eating at a great seafood restaurant on Pier 39. He told me to order whatever I wanted, no matter the price. My dad and mom would give their right arm to make sure their kids were given any and every need they required and any want they desired. Thankfully for them, my parents had two kids who wouldn’t fully take advantage of that or else I don’t think they would even have a home to live in anymore!

On our way back to the car I thanked my dad for the best holiday experience we have shared thus far. I told him we need to do this at least every time I come home to visit. My dad and I are so alike that we could spend literally years exploring all that interests us.

“Hey, you’re my girl,” he said. I have heard this saying probably a million times throughout my life.

“And you’re my boy Dad,” I replied, as I always do.

-Jennifer Wirowek